Parmesan – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Chocolate & Pastry Ingredients Glossary

I. What is Parmesan?

Parmesan, also known as Parmigiano-Reggiano, is a hard, granular cheese that originated in Italy. It is typically made from cow’s milk and has a rich, nutty flavor. Parmesan is a versatile cheese that can be used in a variety of dishes, including pasta, salads, and soups. It is also a popular ingredient in both chocolate and pastry recipes, adding a unique depth of flavor to sweet treats.

II. How is Parmesan made?

Parmesan is made using a traditional method that has been passed down for centuries. The process begins with fresh cow’s milk, which is heated and mixed with rennet to form curds. The curds are then cut into small pieces and pressed into molds, where they are left to age for a minimum of 12 months.

During the aging process, Parmesan develops its distinctive flavor and texture. The cheese is regularly turned and brushed with saltwater to prevent mold growth and promote even aging. After at least 12 months, Parmesan is ready to be enjoyed.

III. What is the difference between Parmesan and other types of cheese?

Parmesan is often compared to other hard cheeses, such as Pecorino Romano and Grana Padano. While these cheeses may have similar textures and flavors, there are some key differences that set Parmesan apart.

One of the main differences is the region in which the cheese is produced. Parmesan is made in the Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, and parts of Mantua and Bologna regions of Italy, while Pecorino Romano is made in Sardinia and Grana Padano is made in the Po Valley region of Italy.

Another difference is the aging process. Parmesan is aged for a minimum of 12 months, while Pecorino Romano is aged for a minimum of 5 months and Grana Padano is aged for a minimum of 9 months. This longer aging process gives Parmesan its distinct flavor and texture.

IV. How to store Parmesan?

To keep Parmesan fresh and flavorful, it is important to store it properly. The best way to store Parmesan is to wrap it in wax paper or parchment paper and then place it in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. This will help prevent the cheese from absorbing other odors in the refrigerator.

Parmesan can also be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months. To freeze Parmesan, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place it in a freezer-safe container. When ready to use, thaw the cheese in the refrigerator overnight.

V. How to use Parmesan in chocolate and pastry recipes?

Parmesan can add a unique and savory flavor to chocolate and pastry recipes. In chocolate recipes, Parmesan can be grated and added to brownie batter or melted and drizzled over chocolate-covered strawberries for a surprising twist on a classic dessert.

In pastry recipes, Parmesan can be incorporated into savory pastries such as Parmesan and herb scones or Parmesan and sun-dried tomato palmiers. The cheese adds a rich and nutty flavor that pairs well with a variety of ingredients.

VI. What are some popular chocolate and pastry recipes that include Parmesan?

One popular chocolate recipe that includes Parmesan is Parmesan and sea salt chocolate bark. This sweet and savory treat combines dark chocolate with grated Parmesan and a sprinkle of sea salt for a delicious and unexpected flavor combination.

In pastry recipes, Parmesan can be used in Parmesan and rosemary shortbread cookies. These buttery cookies are infused with Parmesan and fresh rosemary for a savory twist on a classic sweet treat. Another popular pastry recipe that includes Parmesan is Parmesan and prosciutto puff pastry twists. These flaky pastries are filled with grated Parmesan and thinly sliced prosciutto for a delicious appetizer or snack.

Overall, Parmesan is a versatile ingredient that can add depth and complexity to both chocolate and pastry recipes. Whether grated, melted, or incorporated into dough, Parmesan is sure to elevate any sweet treat with its rich and nutty flavor.